Minor Player / Variety Act for the week ending
Saturday, 13 September 2008

Mab Barton (fl. circa 1890), English siffleuse,
'La premiere petite Siffleuse' or 'The Original Whistling Lady'

Mab Barton

Mab Barton

(photo: Karoly, Birmingham, England, circa 1890)

'PRESENTATION. - Miss Mab Barton, the talented daughter of Mr Walter Barton, comedian, on terminating at the close of the Wheeleries Exhibition, Tynemouth, a special engagement, was the recipient of a very handsome silver-handled and ivory-bladed paper knife.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 June 1890, p. 15e)

'MISS MAB. BARTON (Daughter of Mr Walter Barton, Comedian) concluded Engagement at the close of the Wheeleries Exhibition, Tynemouth, whistling Solos and Selections. Offers invited. Address, Old White Swan Hotel, Cloth-market, Newcastle.'
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 June 1890, p. 23d, advertisement)

'Amongst the many entertainments which invariably find a resting place in Birmingham during the Christmas seasons is the ever-popular Pepper's Ghost. This ghost is getting into years, but it is as amusing and versatile as ever. For the best part of a generation it has been roaming and country over, under the control either of its author, the late ''Professor'' Pepper, or his successors. Now it is located in Birmingham for a short and, no doubt, judging from past events, a successful season. Last evening there was what might be termed a public rehearsal, and it gave a very good idea of what may be expected during the visit. A capital company of experienced artists has been engaged, and there should be nothing wanting in the special form of entertainment which they are taking part in. The principal item of the programme is a very admirable rendering of Dickens's Christmas Carol, in which the dream of Scrooge is pictorially presented. His crabby, selfish, disagreeable nature is brought out in contrast to the warm heartedness of his nephew. Of course the ghost is that of Jacob Marley, Scrooge's dead partner. A better selection for the entertainment of children, and of adults, too, could not well be made. As Dean Stanley once said, the Christmas Carol is the finest charity sermon in the English language. All sorts and conditions of ghosts appear and disappear during the evening, and the funniest of them crop up in the new spectral farce, Muddlehead in a Fix. Mr. Harry Smith is Sergeant Muddlehead, and his experiences are made the vehicle for introducing nearly fifty ''lightening transformation.'' Miss Mab Barton as a whistling lady has achieved considerable success up and down the country, and will no doubt be heartily welcomed on this her first visit to Birmingham. Altogether the proprietor of the entertainment has managed to provide over two hours' very enjoyable diversion; and the programme has been so arranged as to meet the requirements of adults as well as juveniles. There will be morning performances on Friday and Saturday.'
(The Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham, Thursday, 25 December 1890, p. 5d)

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© John Culme, 2008